Names Changes, launched in April 2020, as most user know, is the ability for Premium users to select a first name / last name combination that’s to their liking and use it as their avatar / account name.
Under the system, first names are free-form, whilst last names are selected from a list – as used to be the case when first name / last name combinations were a basic part of the Second life sign-up process through until mid-2010.
Linden Lab have remained somewhat vague on this latter point, although they have noted that names are liable to swapped out on the basis of how popular / unpopular they prove to be. That is, if a name is so popular it reaches a certain level of use or fails to reach a certain level of use within a given time period defined by the Lab, they would be “retired”.
On Tuesday, June 16th, the Lab announced that some of the last names made available in the first batch made available at the time the capability was launched have been determined to fall with one or other of these two limits, and so will be “retired” from use as from Thursday, June 25th, 2020.
Anyway wishing to make use of these names should now do so before the end of Wednesday, June 24th. Those who have already opted to use any of these names will obviously retain them. I assume replacement names will be made available / announced either at the time these names are retired, or shortly thereafter.
In terms of how popular the capability has been, the official blog post notes only that the response thus far has been “mostly positive”, although feedback at various meetings has suggested the response has been more poplar than the blog may suggest.
On Tuesday, June 16th, the majority of the grid was updated to server release 543337, comprising simulator-side updates that will eventually allow per-region values for Shout, Say, and Whisper distances.
Note: Currently these values are read only, and can be accessed via the Sim Console.
On Wednesday, June 17th, the RC channels will be updated to server release 543526, comprising further infrastructure updates to support Group chat improvements / support of the cloud uplift work.
Voice Carry Project – Update and Re-Cap
Voices Carry is the name given to the extended chat range project. Once fully deployed, it will allow region / estate owners / managers to set the open chat range on a region (see BUG-228333).
As of the June 16th simulator update, the current values can be viewed via the Sim Console, as noted above. the command for doing so are: “get chat_range”, “get whisper_range” and “get shout_range”.
General notes on the capability, once fully deployed:
It only applies to local chat channel 0, and so it should not impact scripted objects using other chat channels.
The distance set within a region will determine which, if any, of any adjoining regions can her local chat with that region.
For example, if you are in a region with chat distance set to 50m and you’re more than 50m from any boundary with an adjoining region, then your chat will not be relayed beyond the region.
The distance chat is set to within a region will determine how far any chat from an adjoining region will be relayed within it.
For example: if a region has a chat range of 20m, and chat is relayed from a neighbouring region with a range of 100m, that chat will only be relayed 20m within the current region.
No matter how great the chat range is set within an region, it will never be relayed further than those immediately adjoining it.
For example: if a Mainland region has a chat range set to 1000m, chat from it will only be relayed to the (maximum of) 8 regions adjoining it.
There have been no updates to the official viewers to mark the start of the week, leaving the current viewers as follows:
Current Release viewer version 18.104.22.1682964, dated May 29th, promoted June 2nd, formerly the FMOD Studio RC viewer – No Change.
Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version 22.214.171.1242999, November 22, 2019.
Legacy Profiles viewer, version 126.96.36.1990836, September 17, 2019. Covers the re-integration of Viewer Profiles.
360 Snapshot project viewer, version 188.8.131.529111, July 16, 2019.
Extended update deployment roll-times: region owners have noted that the time taken for deployments to roll across estates has become extended – some regions taking up to an hour to update and restart. LL believe they know what the issue is, but any fix will not be implemented until after the cloud uplift work has been completed.
Cloud uplift: work is progressing well, although LL are not revealing which services have been migrated and which have yet to move.
Following completion of the uplift, all SL services will initially be in a single AWS regional zone.
However, LL expect to eventually have things more distributed across zones (e.g.allowing some simulators to be located closer to where their core audience is located, where there is a clear geographical distribution of users.
Annie Brightstar, who curates Second Life destinations through Scoop It and various social media, poked me via IM to the fact the noted photographer Skip Staheli has opened his personal Homestead region, PhotoStudio Purple Cows, to public visits, and suggested I go have a look.
The region’s design is by Busta (BadboyHi), who is responsible for a number of region designs Caitlyn and I have enjoyed visiting (and in my case, writing about) in that past; a fact that further encouraged me to take a hop across and visit sooner rather than later. And I have to say, his work here is impressive.
The region forms a rugged, temperate island marked by an impressive spine of an undulating, rocky hill that winds from the north-west to both the south-wast and south-east in and extended “Y”. Relatively narrow, the hill nevertheless appears to contain an high-level aquifer, as waterfalls tumble from its many flanks to both form pools at its base and outflow channels that extend to the surrounding sea, breaking-up the shingle and muddy lowlands.
It’s an entirely natural setting – perhaps the best Busta has produced to date. The central hill is beautifully constructed, rising from natural footings to highest peak, the paths running it it from the lowlands all looking to have been created by the processes of wind and water erosion rather than carrying an appearance of having been purposefully designed. Similarly, the blending of mesh land forms with region terrain is exquisitely done, further enhancing the depth of the setting.
All of this serves to give the region a feeling of being almost literally transposed from the physical world to the virtual, offering visitors with the sense that they really are in a wilderness location – perhaps somewhere deep within the mountains of North America of just off part of it’s more remote coastline.
It’s a sense of wilderness that’s enhanced by the fact only two man-made structures are on the island. To the north lies a Japanese-style cabin sitting on one of the broad channels of water flowing outwards from the central hill and formed by a horseshoe of waterfalls. The cabin sits as the kind of retreat many of us would love to have; one with a outstanding morning-time view, with places close to hand – just across the water in fact – to sit and contemplate. Eastern influences are strong around the cabin, but in fact it is not a home; within it sits a small café and the suggestion of a studio space.
The cabin sits in the lee of the hill’s north-west arm, a steep cliff rising just behind it. Follow the base of this shoulder of rock, and you’ll find a path that winds up it and along the rising edge of the cliffs to where stone steps point the way to the second wooden structure, this one home to a bakery and small gallery space. It sits at the summit of the island’s central hill and upon a substantial deck that can be reached by two additional paths up from the lowlands. The deck extends out of the one of the island’s waterfalls to present a stunning view down to the cabin below.
As well following the paths up to the island’s summit, it is possible to circumnavigate the setting, keeping entirely to the lowlands. Bridges connect the shingle beaches where water flows out from the falls, the route rising here and there to pass over rocky feet as they extend to the coast. Doing so will reveal the various routes to the more elevated parts of the island and also bring some of the hidden / smaller details of the region into focus.
These details are many and varied – and sometimes easy to miss. A few of the more obvious are the the multiple locations where visitors can sit. These range from chairs and converted pallets to tyre swings and blankets at the end of piers. There’s also wildlife to be found here, but some of it may not be easy to find (hint: keep an eye out for the local perambulating frogs).
A thoroughly captivating region, perfect in its design and execution, PhotoStudio Purple Cows is not one to miss while it remains open to the public.